Allison Clarke

Allison Clarke is a freelance writer based out of Nashville, TN. She is passionate about partnering with businesses to tell their story in a compelling way. In her free time she enjoys spending time outdoors and writing songs.

Recent Posts

Flat Sawn vs. Quarter Sawn Lumber

Before hardwood products ever make it to your deck, house or boat, a decision must first be made on how to cut the lumber. There are three ways that the lumber can be cut: flat sawn, rift sawn, and quater sawn.

Flat Sawn Rift Sawn Quarter Sawn Lumber Illustrations

Flat Sawn  |  Rift Sawn  |  Quarter Sawn

Each method makes a difference in the appearance of the wood grain and its durability. For this article, we’re going to focus on the flat sawn and quarter sawn techniques (since they are more common). Here are the basics of the flat sawn and quarter sawn methods to help you make a decision on which is the best for you.

flat sawn ipe deckingFlat Sawn Ipe Decking

Flat Sawn

This is the most common method, also known as plain sawn. This method has minimal waste and also showcases a “cathedral” look of annual rings. This look is the result of the annular rings being 45 degrees or less to the face of the board (known as tangential grain).

Flat sawn lumber is the most inexpensive option because it is the easiest to obtain. Generally 60-70% of the lumber from a log is flat sawn. The rest is quarter sawn or somewhere in between. This makes flat sawn more widely available and therefore cheaper. Logs can be cut to produce more quarter sawn but the yield from the log is lower and therefore more expensive. 

Overall, the flat sawn boards are popular for a reason — they are easy to come across and are more cost-effective than other cuts. If you’re looking for a solid cut that won’t go over-budget, you can’t go wrong by choosing the flat sawn method.

 

quarter sawn teak deckingQuarter Sawn Teak Decking

Quarter Sawn

The quarter sawn method is a little bit more costly. However, it’s also more dimensionally stable than the flat sawn boards. Just as the name suggests, quarter sawn lumber is cut into four quarters and then cut using the plain sawn method. The process overall is more time intensive, but it creates a unique pattern that stands out against the plain sawn lumber.

While quarter sawn boards are more expensive, they are going to hold paint better and wear more evenly on the surface. In addition, when it comes to abosorbing moisture, quarter sawn boards expand more in thickness than flat sawn boards. This causes the boards to be more stable than flat sawn boards (which expand more in width when abosrbing moisture).

Quarter sawn lumber is a little harder to find, but it’s worth it if you’re willing to spend a little more money on a more stable board that boasts unique designs.

What should you choose?

There are many factors to consider when choosing a cut for your hardwood. If you’re more concerned about budget and availability, plain sawn lumber will be the best choice. However, if you want a board that will withstand more moisture and has a more interesting design, you will want to consider the quarter sawn lumber. We suggest visiting your nearest hardwood distributor and seeing the boards for yourself before you make a decision.

Have any more questions about flat sawn vs. quarter sawn lumber? Give us a call at 1-800-999-7616.

Posted in Teak, Ipe, Marine, Teak Decking, Hardwood Decking, Siding & Soffits, Millwork, Outdoor Living, Technical Data | Leave a comment

When Should You Use Marine Grade Plywood?

Marine Grade plywood is an incredibly durable and versatile product - especially when it comes to water applications. Whether you're building a boat or adding wood accents to your bathroom, it may be the perfect choice for the job. Our Marine Grade plywood is made with lightweight Okoume wood, waterproof adhesive and contains no voids. This guarantees long-lasting durability against water. However, it does come at a higher cost than regular plywood. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that you’re making a wise investment. So, when should you use Marine Grade plywood? We've made a list of some of the top projects.

marine grade plywood stack close up

Boat Building

Whether building a small wooden boat or a large yacht, using marine grade plywood can be an excellent investment. First, it's pliable which makes it easier to work with when building curved structures like the hull of a boat. The plywood’s durability also makes it an excellent option for boat building of any scale. For boat hulls, it serves as reliable protection against leaks if the outer layer becomes scratched or damaged. If you’re building a boat, marine grade plywood is a long-lasting option that will protect your structure against damage and leaks.

Covered Docks

As you may have guessed, marine grade plywood is also a wise choice for docks. While other types of wood often have to be sanded and then treated annually, marine grade plywood will stand the test of time without this maintenance every year. For this reason, it is less likely to rot and warp because of the effects of constant water contact. The structure will remain intact and safe for many years to come.

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Lake Platforms

Much like docks, lake platforms greatly benefit from using marine grade plywood as opposed to less durable plywood. If you don’t use it when building a floating structure in the water, you can count on it deteriorating prematurely. We recommend nailing and gluing several boards together and finishing the wood with a waterproof sealer. This will allow you to enjoy your floating platform for many years to come.

Bathrooms

When it comes to interior uses for marine grade plywood, there are two places that experience the most moisture. The first is the bathroom. Using marine grade plywood can offer a different aesthetic than the standard materials used in bathrooms. It will also withstand the high moisture environment that comes from the shower and sink. Using it for flooring or a sink backsplash means you won't be taking any chances with rot or mold in your bathroom.

Kitchen

As you may have guessed, the kitchen is the second place in the interior of a home that often experiences the most moisture. Over time, steam and water can compromise the integrity of lesser grade wood in your kitchen. For a waterproof backsplash in your kitchen, marine grade plywood can make a statement and ward off the effects of constant moisture from steam and more. It can also be a great option for flooring or cabinets, depending on how much water they will come in contact with. 

We'd be happy to talk to you more about how marine grade plywood may be a great choice for your next project. Give us a call at 1-800-999-7616.

Posted in Marine Grade Plywood, Okoume, Marine | Leave a comment

Is Your Hardwood Deck Hurricane Proof?

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With the number of hurricanes the coast has faced over the past several months, it leaves many people along the coast wondering if their home is hurricane proof. When it comes to having a hurricane ready deck, you don’t want to take any chances. Choosing Hardwood Decking will no doubt give your project the added strength it needs to face a severe storm, but having a storm-proof deck doesn't end there. Whether you are about to begin the building process or you’ve had your deck for years, here are some ways to make sure that your hardwood deck is ready to face any storm.

Start from the ground up.

If you’re starting the building process, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure the structure is well anchored in the ground. To do this, we suggest using heavier concrete footings. Mushroom footings, as opposed to standard sonotube footings, are a stronger way to anchor your deck. You may also want to use thicker framing for your deck. Heavy concrete footings and thicker framing is a solid place to start when building a hurricane-proof deck.

Bring on the hardware.

Once you have a strong foundation, you’ll want to take extra steps to secure the framing. One common and relatively easy way to do this is with hurricane ties. These metal pieces are often sold at local hardware stores and reduce the chance of any board coming loose or flying away during the high force winds of a hurricane or severe storm. They are inexpensive and we highly recommend installing them if you live in an area susceptible to hurricanes or tornadoes.

Keep the water moving.

After you've secured your foundation, it’s imperative that all of your gutters and irrigation is draining properly. Be sure to keep drains and irrigation channels clean and cleared out so that the heavy amount of water can pass through without causing any flooding around your home or deck. In the long term, excessive water and flooding can cause water damage to your deck and home. If your yard does not have a good irrigation system, we recommend contacting a professional about putting one in place.

Protect your deck surface.

If you haven’t already, waterproofing your hardwood deck with a UV Inhibiting sealant is another great way to protect it from the elements of a hurricane or severe storm. It will extend the life of your hardwood decking and help your deck keep its original appearance. If your deck has recently been stained, you don’t need to waterproof your deck as the stain acts as waterproof sealant. If you do decide it's time to apply waterproof sealant, make sure to check the forecast and leave at least 48 hours for it to completely dry.

Remove hazards that surround.

In the short-term before a heavy storm, you’ll always want to clear deck furniture and loose limbs that surround your deck. This eliminates the potential for a branch or deck chair becoming a hazard when the winds pick up. Also, be sure to prune the trees surrounding your deck, home and fence and remove any dead branches.

When it comes to preparing for any storm, it’s always better to be more prepared than necessary. The tips we've shared are a good place to start when looking at your hurricane readiness plan but, as always, you should consider additional precautions as necessary for your deck and home.

What hurricane prep tips would you add?

Posted in Outdoor Living, Technical Data | Leave a comment

How to Protect Your Outdoor Projects From Termites.

Termites can wreak havoc on your home or deck. If not caught quickly enough, they can alter the very foundation of any wood construction project. Thankfully, there are many precautionary measures that you can take to avoid damage done by termites. Here are some of the steps that you can take to protect your home or deck from the threat of infestation.

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Eliminate moisture.

Having moisture in your home is bad for many reasons, including termites. Why? Termites need two things: food and water. Since wood is their food, adding a source of water will give them all they need to survive. Be sure that your home or project is properly draining any water and that there are no sources of leaks.

Choose your wood carefully.

While maintaining an environment that keeps termites away is crucial, it’s also a good idea to chose a wood that termites will keep their distance from. Options like pressure-treated wood and hardwood species will act as a deterrent to termites. These types of wood aren’t a 100% guarantee against termites but they will keep them away more than other types of wood. We suggest talking with a member of our team to help you determine the best option for you.

Limit soil contact.

Most termites live and build their colonies underground in the soil. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not giving them the perfect environment to live and breed right next to your house or deck. If you have to use mulch next to your house or project, check your local hardwood store for new rubber mulch options. Rubber mulch can be a great alternative that looks and acts like the real thing but doesn't attract any unwanted guests.

Spray pesticides.

Spraying liquid pesticide to the foundation of new construction sites is a common practice for good reason — it works. There are two types of pesticides you can spray. The first acts as a repellent. The second will kill the termites directly upon exposure. Since you’re working with chemicals, consult a professional to find out what they suggest for your home.

Elevate your structure.

One of the most important precautions to follow in termite prevention is ensuring that your wood structure is elevated above the ground. When it is closer to the ground, subterranean termites have easier access to it. If possible, use concrete to elevate your structure from the ground and eliminate the risk of termites making a meal out of your foundation.

Practice proper maintenance.

Keeping your home and yard maintained can make a big difference when it comes to warding off termites. Those fallen limbs or old 2x4's that have been sitting in your yard for a few months can serve as a breeding ground for termites. In addition, be sure to repair cracks that give termites an easy entryway, and, as mentioned before, fix any leaks.

Having a termite-free home is best done on the front-end of any project by choosing an insect-resistant hardwood. The key is to make the environment less favorable for them to live and to keep it that way with proper maintenance and upkeep.

What helpful advice would you add? Be sure and comment below.

Posted in Outdoor Living, Technical Data | Leave a comment